Television: From Sweet Memories To A Bonfire Of Inanities

Fox tries to cash in on an '80s update of That '70s Show's nostalgia. But sometimes greed isn't good

Once upon a time, nostalgia was for people who had whole lives to look back on. Today, young Americans do so much reminiscing, they will have little left to pine for once they're actually old. The 1994 movie Reality Bites noted Gen X's penchant for instant nostalgia with its recent college grads singing Schoolhouse Rock ditties. This premature sentimentality might explain why That '70s Show, Fox's sweetly frothy sitcom about small-town teens, is a hit among viewers who, in the Carter era, were wearing pj's with footies. (Its median audience age is 31; its characters would be in their early 40s...

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